Bangkok, Thailand, has added a sculptural topper to its skyline with the completion of the MahaNakhon (which means “great metropolis” in Thai), the tallest building in Thailand. The local branch of international studio Büro Ole Scheeren designed the 1,030-foot-tall tower, a glassy spire with a distinctive “dissolving” cutaway that spirals up along the length of the building. With the completion of a glass-bottomed observation deck at the very top of MahaNakhon on November 26, the 77-story tower is now officially open to the public. “The idea behind MahaNakhon was to take the life of the city and bring it up the tower in a dramatic, spiraling movement,” said Ole Scheeren, principal of Büro Ole Scheeren. “Even the very top of the tower is surrendered to the public, so there is not only a public square at the ground, but human activity rises along the pixelated shaft to the top floors of the building which are given back to the public domain. It is a project that is strongly embedded in the city and the public realm, and expressively proclaims itself as an active part of it.” The distinctive cut that snakes around the building gives it an unfinished appearance from a distance, but reveals planted terraces, balconies, and cantilevering living rooms when viewed in detail. Scheeren has described the gesture as an “erosion” of the typical rectangular form that’s meant to blur the boundaries between the interior spaces and Thailand’s tropical climate. The 1.6-million-square-foot MahaNakhon features a bit of everything in its programming, including 200 high-end condo units, 150 hotel rooms, cafes, restaurants, and retail space located at the landscaped MahaNakhon Square at the tower’s base. The crown jewel of the glass-clad building is the “Skytray,” a 15-foot-by-57-foot glass observation deck more than 1,000 feet off the ground. Visitors will be able to check out the entirety of Bangkok (and beyond) thanks to the tower’s unobstructed height. Towers with “pixelated” cutaways have been gaining in popularity in the last few years, and the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) in particular has continued to experiment with the form. MahaNakhon may have beat BIG’s Spiral to the party though, as the Thai tower was originally commissioned in 2008.
Posts tagged with "Ole Scheeren":
What happens when an architect reinterprets the grocery experience? We will find out at Design Miami/ on November 30th when German-born architect Ole Scheeren unveils “Stage,” a collaboration with Dean & DeLuca, the legendary New York gourmet market and leading international purveyor of fine food. The temporary setup will act as a prototype for a new retail experience that will be “a glowing, pristine object in polished stainless steel with the undulating topography of a bespoke, high-tech display system, created for the powerful celebration of the preparation and presentation of food.” German-born architect Ole Scheeren is internationally renowned for his highly innovative work. Scheeren designed the Prada Epicentres in New York and Los Angeles, and the remarkable CCTV media headquarters in Beijing when he was a partner at OMA. Now at the helm of Büro Ole Scheeren, he has recently completed The Interlace, lauded World Building of the Year 2015, and Mahanakhon, Thailand’s tallest skyscraper. With Scheeren’s much anticipated Guardian Art Centre in Beijing and the DUO towers in Singapore due to open in 2017, he is currently working on multiple new projects across Europe, Asia, and North America. Known for his uncompromising practice and critical thinking, Ole Scheeren has now applied his approach to large-scale work towards the development of a unique food retail concept for Dean & DeLuca. Scheeren's Stage prototype will be on display from November 30 to December 4 in the main exhibition tent of Design Miami/ and will operate throughout the duration of the fair as its main and sole food partner. Dean & DeLuca originated in 1977 when Joel Dean, Giorgio Deluca, and Jack Ceglic opened their first grocery store in an industrial space on Prince Street in Soho, New York. Back in 2014, the company was acquired by Sorapoj Techakraisri, CEO of Bangkok, Thailand-based PACE Development.
If you took Herzog & de Meuron's so-called "Jenga Tower" in New York City and combined it with NBBJ's so-called "Jenga Tower" in Cleveland, you would have something resembling Büro Ole Scheeren's proposed residential tower in Vancouver, which, sure, kind of looks like a game of Jenga. The firm's first North America project would land at 1500 West Georgia Street in Downtown Vancouver and rise 48 stories. The tower, with its cantilevering volumes, is intended to break up the monotony of the city's glassy skyline which the firm summed up as "extrusions of generic towers that don’t engage their environment and create isolation rather than connection." To change that, the tower has a unique massing that is supposedly intended to free up space at the street level for things like a public plaza and an "amplified reinterpretation" of the site's existing water feature. Unspecified "renewable energy sources" stuck into the building's crown would provide 100 percent of the power for these public amenities, helping the building hit its LEED Platinum target. The project is still in its early days as Ole Scheeren and Francl Architecture have only recently sent a letter of inquiry to the city about the redevelopment, which is being developed by Bosa Properties. [h/t Dezeen]
This Fall, I served as special media correspondent for The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat's September symposium in Shanghai. The topic was “Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism,” and among the many architects, engineers and other tall building types I interviewed was Ole Scheeren—founder Büro Ole Scheeren and former director at OMA. In light of Scheeren's recent work on The Interlace in Singapore and Bangkok's MahaNakhon, we talked about exploring the power of public space and shared experiences in tall buildings. “The city is about sharing,” said Scheeren. “The city is not about individuality per se but it's about how individuals come together and the spaces they share. And in a way the adventure of that space.”
Seeking ideas for a new 645,800 square foot media campus in Berlin, Axel Springer AG revealed its design contest by inviting twenty international firms to propose innovative schemes. Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the company, specified “the building should not be overwhelmingly beautiful, but also address the question: what does material mean in a dematerialized media company, what does an office mean in a mobile working environment, in which offices are no longer really required?” The five shortlisted firms are Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Kuehn Malvezzi, Ole Scheeren, Rem Koolhaas (OMA) and SANAA. The winner will be announced in December. (Photo: Google Earth)
Ole Scheeren, a former partner at Rem Koolhaas' OMA who broke away to start his own firm (Buro OS) in March 2010, has unveiled his latest project in Kuala Lumpur: an 880-foot-tall mixed-use tower called the Angkasa Raya. Adjacent to Cesar Pelli's Petronas Twin Towers, once the world's tallest, Scheeren's new 65-story project progresses a skyscraper typology of stacked volumes made popular at OMA. The Angkasa Raya separates uses into five distinct volumes, three vertical blocks arranged around two stacks of open, horizontal floors. The lowest horizontal level mixes a parking structure with a spiraling public space reached by ascending a monumental stair from the street that doubles as amphitheater seating. By incorporating public elements within the parking, the architects hope to avoid the deadening effects of a lifeless base. Shops, a food court, prayer rooms, and lush tropical gardens are intended to bring the life of the street into the base of the building in a highly transparent way. Perched above this base, volumes housing offices and a luxury hotel support another set of horizontal layers—the "sky levels"—with a third volume of residences on top. The three main volumes are defined by a grid of windows featuring modular projecting aluminum sun screens to reduce solar heat gain and increase energy savings in the building. The top tower volume also contains an atrium with communal seating and lounge space. The atrium provides natural ventilation to the residential units, further reducing energy demand. The architects also plan to harvest rainwater for use in irrigating landscaping. The sky levels serve as the public meeting space between the three predominant uses, adding a restaurant and bar, multi-purpose spaces including banquet halls and meeting rooms, and more tropical gardens all with some of the best views in Kuala Lumpur. Projecting terraces and an infinity pool overlooking the Petronas Towers adds to the luxury offerings. Demolition on the site was completed in August and construction is expected to be underway in early 2012.
Shortly after the dramatic fire consumed much of the TVCC tower in Beijing earlier this year, we speculated on the building's fate. Well, it's taken eight months, but Archinect directed us to an AP story in which OMA's Ole Scheeren finally addresses the rampant concerns that have been plaguing the burned out building, and the prognosis is good. Scheeren said that the building is indeed intact and will be replaced—at what cost, who knows, though this being state-run television, does it even really matter? The AP adds that construction scaffolding is already up on the site, and Scheeren goes to great lengths to dispel apparently rampant and, as far as we can understand, ridiculous rumors that were the TVCC building to be dismantled, it would drag down the better known CCTV building because the two shared a structural system.
Scheeren said the main buildings were not damaged. He said there is no truth to persisting rumors that the towers and the burnt-out building were interconnected and served as a counterweight for each other. "The two buildings are completely unrelated structurally. There's no connection between them. I think it's very important to dispel this kind of story that the two buildings are connected and one depends on the other. That's absolutely not true," he said. Rumors have swirled for months that the delay in reconstruction was partly because the two buildings were linked to each other and that it would be impossible to tear down the smaller building without affecting the main one.This seems like a no brainer to us, but maybe it's an East-West thing. What's more impressive, and important, is that the building remains intact. This is not to say most buildings would not under normal circumstances, but China is not exactly known for building under normal circumstances—the terrible destruction wrought last year on inadequate buildings during the Sichuan earthquake is only the latest example, though we've heard countless reports from architects about substandard building practices, too. It is comforting, amid the devastation, to know that things could have been worse, and hopefully they've gotten better for good. Whether it was Rem demanding appropriate amounts of intumescent paint and the proper gauge steel or the Chinese matters not, so long as the the events of last February are not forgotten.